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The changing of the American Family

            Social evolution and revolution, these two actions created a change in the American family after the War for Independence. This evolution in the American family was already in progress. The War for Independence only hastened the process along. This change shows in many ways. One of the first things to consider is the local industry. As stated in class before the French and Indian War, many of the objects used in the colonies were manufactured in England. During the war it became expedient to manufacture certain items here than to await shipment from England. Here for the first time people being employed outside the home, and producing goods in response to a greater need than one's own family. .
             The early colonial family were generally self sufficient, or at least dependent only upon a close neighbor. Of course, that closeness depended upon the settlement. This closeness was still prevalent in the first years of the republic. However, it happened more in the outlying settlements than in the earlier now settled towns. The role of neighbors in the mid to late 1700's can be seen in the movie A Midwife's Tale. This story is about a midwife (Mary Ballard) who moved to the Maine frontier after the War for Independence. Mrs. Ballard, while only a midwife, also filled necessary medical needs. This willingness to help shows in the relationship the neighbors have with each other when a need arises in the community. Constantly on call, she presides over more than a thousand births and never loses a mother. Neighbors continually call upon her for every medical need they have. Regular physicians were sometimes called, but that did not happen often. It is easy to see that there is a need for neighbors that began before the American Revolution , continuing through it and remaining after the war ended. Still, the need for neighbors changed during this period. In earlier times, the neighborhood worked and worshiped together.

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